06/05/10 — Bridgers earns pitcher of the year honors

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Bridgers earns pitcher of the year honors

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on June 5, 2010 11:11 PM

Traci Bridgers is a typical fun-loving high school junior.

Except when she is in the pitcher's circle at Princeton.

As soon as she crosses the chalk lines, Bridgers becomes a dominating, all-business force that few teams have been able to figure out during her career.

"I just really like to win," said Bridgers. "I take every game seriously and I enjoy the feeling of winning a big game because I feel like as the pitcher I sort of control the game."

On the strength of her recent success, Bridgers has been named the 2010 News-Argus All-Area Softball Pitcher-of-the-Year.

"Traci can take over and make it very tough on opposing hitters," said Princeton head coach Terry Braswell. "I am glad to have her coming back for next season, because I am excited to see how she progresses."

Over the past two campaigns, Bridgers has taken the ball for nearly all of the Bulldogs' games and has pitched her team to a 31-15 overall record during that span -- including a 17-8 ledger in 2010. All but two of the Dogs' victories were attributed to Bridgers.

"My sophomore year we had a lot of seniors and they kind of took over the leadership of the team," said Bridgers. "This year we had a lot of seniors as well, but I feel like I was able to kind of step up and be another leader."

The Dogs claimed the Carolina 1-A Conference championship this year. Princeton then rolled through the first two rounds of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs before falling to N.C. School of Science and Math in round three.

Bridgers was at her most dominant during the postseason. The hard-throwing right hander tallied back-to-back shutouts over Manteo and Heide Trask. Bridgers allowed just four total base hits during those two outings.

"I think this year we played very solid defense behind Traci and that gave her some added confidence," said Braswell. "It's hard to believe, but I think she has been even better as she learned to have faith in the defense."

In the loss to NCSSM, Bridgers struck out five batters and only allowed one walk. She tallied 19 strikeouts in the three playoff games combined.

With one season left in Princeton, Bridgers has not yet chosen a college but softball is definitely in her future plans.

"I play a lot of showcase and travel ball in the summer and that helps as far as being seen by college coaches," said Bridgers. "I guess it will depend on what college coaches are looking for as well as my grades to see what can happen at the next level."